Fatema K. Merchant


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Experience & Credentials

Practice Areas

  • Government Contracts
  • Investigations & International Trade
  • Exports and Export-Related Controls
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
  • Securities Enforcement
  • International Reach
  • International Trade and Investment
  • South Asia
  • Litigation
Mailing Address2099 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 100, Washington, District of Columbia, 20006-6801
University Al-Jamea-Tus-Saifiyah Arabic Academy, B.A., 2003
Law SchoolAmerican University Washington College of Law, J.D., 2008
AdmittedTexas; District of Columbia


•American Bar Association, International Section
•ABA International Anti-Corruption Committee
•ABA India Committee

LanguagesArabic; Gujarati; Urdu

Fatema Merchant is an associate in the Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

Fatema's practice focuses on investigations and compliance counseling related to international trade laws. She has extensive experience with U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and U.S.-Sanctioned Countries investigations, compliance, due diligence, and training. Fatema also advises clients on compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations, Export Administration Regulations, Customs and Anti-Money Laundering regulations. At Sheppard Mullin, she serves on the D.C. Diversity Working Group, Recruiting Committee, and is co-chair of the DC women lawyers' group. Fatema also serves on the pro bono committee and is actively involved in various pro bono matters, including preparing asylum applications and working with students at American University to seek resettlement for Iraqi refugees as part of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Program.

Prior to joining Sheppard Mullin, Fatema worked in the D.C. office of another international law firm, where she was also seconded as a Special Assistant Attorney General with the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General. At the OAG, Ms. Merchant negotiated settlements, prepared dispositive motions, handled pleadings and discovery, and argued motions. She served as co-counsel in a jury trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, securing a favorable verdict for the District.

Fatema was recognized on the Lawyers of Color's Hot List in 2014 and by Super Lawyers as a 2015 Washington D.C. Rising Star.


•2015 Washington D.C. Rising Star
•Lawyers of Color's 2014 Hot List

Publications & News


• Compliance Takeaways From PayPal's OFAC Settlement, Law360, April 2, 2015
• Accounts and Accountability: Arab Bank Found Liable for Transactions Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, WorldECR, Issue 35, October 2014
• China Outbound Newsletter, Sheppard Mullin, September 2014
•“Russia Sanctions: Iran Deja Vu Or Jamais Vu?” The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, May 2014
• FCPA Overreach? Courts Address Personal Jurisdiction In Cases Against Foreign Defendants, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, May 2013
• New Challenges For Compliance Programs, Law360, June 30, 2011
• The FCPA's Increasingly Global Reach, Law360, May 19, 2011
• The Effect of Sentencing Guidelines Amendments, Law360, December 2010
• Amendments to Organisational Sentencing Guidelines Take Effect, International Law Office, November 15, 2010
• DOJ Issues Guidance on Government-Compelled Grants, International Law Office, August 16, 2010

Global Trade Law Blog Posts

• Implementation Day: Do the Rules Let You Play in the New Ballgame for Business in Iran? July 16, 2015
• A Break From the Past: Historic Deal with Iran Marks A New Day in U.S.-Iran Relations, July 14, 2015
• Government Contracting Abroad: Beware Compliance Risks, June 24, 2015
• Paying the Piper: PayPal Inc. Settles Sanctions Violations with OFAC for $7.7 Million, April 1, 2015
• Havana Hold Your Hand: Reaching Out to Cuban Entrepreneurs, January 16, 2015
• New Year, New Orleans, Old Tricks, January 15, 2015
• A New Latitude: Charting a Course for Cuba, December 17, 2014
• DOJ Issues Opinion, Provides (Some) Comfort on Successor Liability, December 4, 2014
• Take the Mansion, But Leave the Thriller Jacket: DOJ Settles with Equatorial Guinea Veep for $30 Million in Assets Bought With Corrupt Proceeds, November 6, 2014
• Accounts and Accountability: Arab Bank Found Liable for Transactions Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, October 9, 2014
• Who's a “Foreign Official”? Supreme Court Could Clarify Key FCPA Term, September 18, 2014, also published on JD Supra
• Don't try this at Home or Abroad: Export Controls and Sanctions Violations Lead to $21 Million in Penalties for Dutch Company Fokker Services B.V., July 15, 2014
• Where Two Worlds Collide: The Impact of Sanctions in Space, June 12, 2014
• Beach Houses and Bribes: DOJ Seeks Over $700, 000 From Former South Korean President, May 1, 2014
• Spacing Out: BIS Issues Report on Export Controls and the Space Industrial Base, April 3, 2014
• It Doesn't Pay to Steal: In Largest Ever Kleptocracy Forfeiture Action, DOJ Seizes $458 Million, March 10, 2014
• Export Control Reform Series Episode III: Harmonizing EAR Exceptions and ITAR Exemptions, August 5, 2013

Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Blog Posts

• What's New Out There? Highlights from the Federal Register, September 29, 2014

Media Mentions

•A 'Good Deal' For Son of Equatorial Guinea Leader Accused of Kleptocracy
Main Justice; Politics, Policy And The Law, October 16, 2014
•Sheppard Mullin Chases the Cool Quotient in D.C.
The National Law Journal, September 8, 2014
•Russia Sanctions: The View from Space
World ECR, May 2014

Speaking Engagements

•Panelist, Pathways to International Law, ABA International Section's Spring Meeting, April 28, 2015
•Panelist, Women and Minorities: Willing Partners or Reluctant Allies? July 15, 2014
•Panelist, Export Control Reform Level Set: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Headed?” Momentum Webinar, July 8, 2014
•Panelist, Doing Business in India: Anti-Corruption Best Practices, Momentum Webinar, May 29, 2014


•Women and Minorities: Willing Partners or Reluctant Allies?
July 15, 2014
•Doing Business in India: Anti-Corruption Best Practices
May 29, 2014


Documents by this lawyer on Martindale.com

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DOJ Issues Opinion, Provides (Some) Comfort on Successor Liability
Thaddeus Rogers McBride,Fatema K. Merchant, February 25, 2015
In a recent Opinion Procedure Release (OPR), Number 14-02, the U.S. Department of Justice expressly limited successor liability for a US company purchasing a non-US company that had paid bribes in the past. In so doing, DOJ may have given a little bit of comfort to US companies and issuers thinking...

Havana Hold Your Hand: Reaching Out to Cuban Entrepreneurs
J. Scott Maberry,Fatema K. Merchant, February 25, 2015
New regulations on Cuba enter into force today, only 29 days after President Obama promised them. The liberalized provisions focus on support for private sector actors in Cuba.

New Year, New Orleans, Old Tricks
Fatema K. Merchant, February 25, 2015
The Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Initiative is kicking off 2015 strong. On January 13, 2015, the DOJ filed a civil complaint seeking the forfeiture of nine properties in New Orleans, worth close to $1.53 million. The property was allegedly purchased with corrupt proceeds, traced to $2...

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Office Information

Fatema K. Merchant

2099 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 100
WashingtonDC 20006-6801


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